Berlin is one of Europe’s most colourful, dynamic and surprising cities, packed with infinite potential, history and culture. Wondering about the top unusual things to do in Berlin? We suggest you avoid the typical sightseeing tours and try these five best cool and unusual things to do in Berlin, to experience the city to the fullest. Discover the most unusual places to visit in Berlin including Forbidden City, Grunewald and quirky museums. Plan the perfect Berlin itinerary that includes plenty of time to enjoy the most underrated spots in the city.
1. Visit Quirky Museums
Berlin is greatly known for its amazing art and history museums. However, there are just as cool and unique museums that are much less known. For instance, the Ramones Museum; the first and only museum dedicated entirely to the American punk rock band. Moreover, the bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, grew up in Berlin and, if you listen closely, you’ll hear references to Berlin in several of their songs. Inside the museum, you’ll find around 1,000 examples of Ramones memorabilia. Additionally, concerts are occasionally held here, and C.J. Ramone even performed once. The museum also has a plant-based café with various delicious dishes named after Ramones’s songs.
One of the quirkiest and most unusual museums in Berlin has to be the David Hasselhoff Museum. Yeap, you read that right! In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, David Hasselhoff’s “Looking for Freedom” topped the German charts. The museum is located in the Circus Hostel that has commemorated this shared history by opening the free David Hasselhoff Museum. The museum features Hoff memorabilia from throughout his career, including Knight Rider, Baywatch, his musical career, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It only takes 5 minutes to see, and it’s open 24/7, so you can visit after a late night out.
2. Swim at Badeschiff
Even though the city of Berlin is surrounded by the Spree river, you are prohibited from swimming in its waters as it is too polluted and the river is frequently used by ships. Luckily, there is still the chance to swim in the river without actually swimming in it! The Badeschiff (literally Bathing Ship), nestled near the eastern city centre, is a large swimming pool, which was built inside the hollowed hull of an anchored vessel. The pool was designed by Susanne Lorenz as part of a competition for city art projects and was inaugurated in May 2004. Since then, the Badeschiff has become a favourite among Berliners and tourists alike trying to escape the summer’s heat.
During the summer months, an open-air bar, restaurant sunbathing area, massages and sports classes are available at the pool’s location as well. During the winter, a cocoon-like temporary roof is established over the pool and the surrounding area, which holds two saunas and a lounge bar. A perfect location if you’ve run out of things to do in Berlin.
3. Day Trip to the Forbidden City
Calling all history enthusiasts! Just on the outskirts of Berlin (one hour away from Berlin via public transportation), visitors will find the “Forbidden City” aka Wünsdorf. It all started as a military area for the Prussian Army, then home to the Nazis’ command centre during World War II, and finally, the area became the headquarters for the Soviet forces in Eastern Germany until September 1994. It has been abandoned since then.
Today, you can pay 15 Euros to visit the “Haus Der Offiziere” and see a Lenin statue, old Soviet maps, a theatre hall, and a swimming pool used by the 1936 German Olympic Team, the year Berlin played host to the Olympic Games. Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes and use caution when walking around the site. This is an extremely unique side to Berlin that most travellers don’t get the chance to see first-hand.
4. A Walk to Teufelsberg
Another of the most unusual things to do in Berlin is found Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) which was the construction site of a planned Nazi military and technology college. The occupying forces attempted to demolish the building but were unable to do so. Instead, they filled the building with war waste from Berlin and formed a man-made hill, which was covered, and trees planted around the site.
During the Cold war in 1961, the American and British military built a secret spy tower and listening station on the site. It was constructed under the disguise of a weather station. Once the Berlin Wall fell, the site was abandoned. Today it is privately owned, but you can visit this site and check out the grounds and tower. It features several floors of street art as you walk towards the spy tower. Likewise, the site has some amazing views of Berlin’s outskirts green lands. However, it’s not very accessible, it’s a 35-minute train ride and then a 30-minute walk through the woods to the site.
5. Trabi Safari
Another unusual way to experience Berlin is by going on a Trabi safari. Produced by former East German auto maker VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau, the Trabant was the most common type of car in East Berlin during communist times. These vehicles were highly coveted with a waiting period of up to 15 years, and while they weren’t known for their reliability, there is a sense of nostalgia about them. Renting these unique cars only costs 30 euros. The excursions are typically safari-style where you have a lead guide and driver, and everyone follows behind in their Trabant. You get a quick driving lesson at the start of the tour as this is a rather unusual car.
Throughout the Trabi safari, you get to see some of Berlin’s top tourist attractions such as the Berlin Wall and Holocaust memorial. At the end of the excursion, you receive a Trabant driver’s license as a souvenir.
These are a few of the more interesting, cool and unusual places in Berlin, Germany. Visiting will guarantee you the most authentic visit to Berlin and its surrounding areas.
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